An evaluation of the barotropic and internal tides in a high-resolution global ocean circulation model

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Abstract

[1] Global comparisons of barotropic and internal tides generated in an eddy-resolving ocean circulation model are made with tidal estimates obtained from altimetric sea surface heights and an altimetry-constrained tide model. As far as we know, our Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) simulations shown here and in an earlier paper are the only published high-resolution global simulations to contain barotropic tides, internal tides, the general circulation, and mesoscale eddies concurrently. Comparing the model barotropic tide with a global data-assimilative shallow water tide model shows that the global tidal elevation differences are approximately evenly split between discrepancies in tidal amplitude and phase. Both the model and observations show strong generation of internal tides at a limited number of “hot spot” regions with propagation of beams of energy for thousands of kilometers away from the sources. The model internal tidal amplitudes compare well with observations near these energetic tidal regions. Averaged over these regions, the model and observation internal tide amplitude estimates agree to approximately 15% for the four largest semidiurnal constituents and 23% for the four largest diurnal constituents. Away from the hot spots, the comparison between the model and altimetric amplitude is not as good due, in part, to two problems, errors in the model barotropic tides and overestimation of the altimetric tides in regions of strong mesoscale eddy activity. Examining the general energy distribution of the simulated internal tide is an important first step in the evaluation of internal tides in HYCOM.

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